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Gloucester City man gets 10 years in mortgage scam

Daniel Sheehan, of Gloucester City, N.J., was sentenced to a little over 10 years in federal prison for fraud and drug smuggling.

The Federal Detention Center, at 7th and Arch Streets.
The Federal Detention Center, at 7th and Arch Streets.Read moreMICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer

A Gloucester City man who worked in mortgage refinancing was sentenced Friday to more than 10 years in federal prison for defrauding dozens of clients and then, while imprisoned awaiting trial, smuggling drugs into the jail so he could repay gambling debts to fellow inmates, federal authorities said.

Daniel Sheehan, 44, who pleaded guilty in May in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia to conspiracy, wire fraud, drug smuggling, and other charges, was sentenced to 121 months and afterward will have to serve three years of supervised release.  He must also forfeit the $493,075 he stole from his victims, some of whom lost their homes as a result of Sheehan's bilking, officials said.

From September 2012 to February 2015, Sheehan offered what he called a service to homeowners that promised to reduce their principal and interest payments. Officials said at least 110 people signed up for the service, which was not much more than advising his clients to stop making mortgage payments, not speak with collections workers, and ignore banks' threats of foreclosure. He called such threats "scare tactics."

In some cases, prosecutors said, Sheehan told his victims their mortgage refinancing plans had been approved, but they wouldn't become "final" until they made "trial payments" to him or his associates.

After he was arrested in April 2016, Sheehan was held in Philadelphia's Federal Detention Center, where he began to gamble with other inmates. He piled up debts, and to pay them off, authorities said, Sheehan had a friend send him the opioid Suboxone in an envelope disguised as a lawyer's letter, which he used to make good on what he owed.